Elder care lawyer criticizes Brownback administration for not pursuing federal dollars for home-based health care

Molly Wood

Molly Wood

Molly Wood, who practices elder law in Lawrence, criticized the Brownback administration for not taking advantage of a new program offered through the Affordable Care Act.

The program called Community First Choice Option will be available Oct. 1, and it provides an increased match of federal funding for home and community-based services. Not only are these services far less expensive than nursing homes, but most older adults prefer them.

States like California and New York are participating. Wood estimates it would provide an additional $33 million for Kansas.

The state’s Secretary on Aging Shawn Sullivan and SRS Secretary Rob Siedlecki have talked openly in community forums about shifting the cost of long-term care from institutional settings to home-base care. Yet, Wood said, the state isn’t accepting federal dollars to do so.

To exacerbate the issue, she said rural Kansas doesn’t have enough community and home-based services and therefore, older adults are often institutionalized.

“It seems like we care more about sticking our finger in Obama’s eye than taking care of our own elderly,” she said Friday afternoon during the Kansas Advocates for Better Care annual meeting. “The only rational explanation is that it’s just all raw, bare-knuckle politics and I’m disappointed that the quality of care of our elderly in Kansas is sacrificed for bare-knuckle politics.”

About 90 people attended the meeting at the Community Health Facility in Lawrence, and Wood’s comment drew applause.

Wood was the keynote speaker and she provided an overview of the Affordable Care Act and its impact on older adults during a 90-minute presentation.

Under the federal legislation, Medicare beneficiaries receive preventive services, such as mammograms, colonoscopies and bone density scans, with no out-of-pocket cost.

“Medicare is doing what all of our health care experts tell us we should do, focusing on preventive care,” Wood said. “They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, which is a better use of public dollars.”

The Affordable Care Act also provides better prescription drug coverage for those who hit the dreaded “doughnut hole.” People hit the doughnut hole once they’ve spent $2,840, which is the drug coverage limit, and then they stay in the hole until expenses reach the catastrophic coverage threshold, which is $4,550.

Before the Affordable Care Act, there was no help in the doughnut hole. Now, recipients get a 50-percent discount on brand name drugs and a 7-percent discount on generic brands.

The doughnut hole will be eliminated in 2020 under federal law.

Wood said she’s “thrilled” to see more adult care home regulations under the Affordable Care Act. There are about 28,000 residents in 350 nursing homes in Kansas. The legislation requires:

• Transparency of ownership.

• Beefed-up training requirements for those who provide hands-on care in nursing homes.

• Enhanced training of inspectors so they recognize the signs of abuse and neglect.

• Interstate background checks for adult care home workers. Wood said Kansas already does this.

Wood admits the Affordable Care Act is complex, but it does provide benefits for older adults.

Her advice for preparing for the future — buy long-term care insurance and get a colonoscopy, and start at age 50 for both.

Tagged: Medicare, Affordable Care Act, health reform, Kansas Advocates for Better Care


woodscolt 6 years, 9 months ago

"Not only are these services far less expensive than nursing homes, but most older adults prefer them."

The anti people governor(party) strikes people down again. What has brownback done for in home care? Only need one word to answer that Nothing.

He has to sabotage the Affordable Care Act in order to live up to all the lies he and the anti people party have manufactured about it. Bringing american society down to 4th world status one state at a time. Now there's a goal for you.

KEITHMILES05 6 years, 9 months ago

For the 60% voters in this state who voted for this nitwit this is what you get and are seeing his extreme views being placed as public policy.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 9 months ago

Actually, as only 60% of registered voters voted when he was elected, less than one third of registered voters in the state elected him. Maybe next election people will actually get out and vote.

KansasAdvocates 6 years, 9 months ago

Karrey, What a great article! Thank you so much for attending Molly's presentation, and for helping get the word out... from all of us at KABC.

Don Whiteley 6 years, 9 months ago

Absolutely! To a liberal, any government official who doesn't spend trillions more than the government has available is a fool. The liberals motto? Live on other people's money!

overthemoon 6 years, 9 months ago

Or you could see it as getting back some of our federal tax money to spend here in the state on local and state needs. Its our money. And it would have a positive effect not only on those on Medicare, but the ripple effect on the nurses, pharmacists, van drivers, etc etc etc on down the line. Federal money sent to states for programs like this have a greater stimulative effect on the economy than spending cuts or tax cuts for the wealthy, which have nearly zero stimulative payback.

woodscolt 6 years, 9 months ago

"We need to be less dependant on Federal dollars, or any Government dollars for that matter and more independant on ourselves."notwhatyouthink. how ironic

Utterly absolutely brilliant! Even if I have to translate what you said into what you thought you said. ( How do we be more independent on our selves?)

We are talking about funding that would have assisted people who unfortunately can no longer be independent. The funding could have helped them be a little more independent with the help of others. Others , unlike you, that have the compassion to care for these people because they understand what you don't.

You have made a typical knee jerk response without thinking. Thinking about people who can no longer be independent. Just jump on the band wagon. I would suggest that you go into an assisted living center or a nursing home and check out the people you think should just simply be less dependent. Tell them to just get up out of their wheel chair and walk.

rtwngr 6 years, 9 months ago

"States like California and New York are participating."

Of course. Those two states never saw a handout they didn't like. It really bolsters the argument to follow the fiscal lead of two states that are, essentially, bankrupt. Maybe there are things in the "Obamacare" with strings attached and our state government is saying, "No thanks!" Not only am I happy with Governor Brownback, I hope he does more of the same and gets the fiscal house of this state back in order.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 9 months ago

Unlike following the fiscal lead of a state like Texas that is even MORE bankrupt. (Can we say "27 billion dollars in debt"?)

woodscolt 6 years, 9 months ago

compassion: |kəmˈpa sh ən| sympathy and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others :

More fortunate people helping less fortunate people. Some people get it and some don't.

Jan Rolls 6 years, 9 months ago

To the idiots that don't believe in using some of the federal dollars that we sent to washington, you are confined to your house and local areas. If you don't want to use federal dollars you can only drive in your home town or back roads. You can no longer use the interstate (federal money involved). You can no longer buy gas (federal money involved. Also you can no longer use the post office, courthouse, you cannot call the police, etc. You get the message. Now you are probably saying to yourself, I must have been an idiot to say that.

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